As the end of the year approaches we are reflecting on the tenth anniversary of President Obama’s receipt of the Nobel Peace prize and his lecture on war and peace. We are also anticipating a year that will be filled with public discussions about national challenges and town halls dedicated to gatherings of citizens to meet with candidates as they prepare to cast their ballots. After watching Obama’s Nobel Peace Prize lecture you may want to read The Leadership Dilemma in a Democratic Society (PDF).
As the country thinks about the role of public sector servants in diplomacy this fall with discussions about trade, war, peace and the environment we want to focus on one civil servant and their take on the importance of civil servants in a democracy. Prudence Bushnell. She often noted:
“Remember there are no healthy democracies in the world where there is not a competent, independent, civil service.”
Around the country this month students, teachers and administrators to go back to school and we are featuring the Leadership Matters Innovations Projects focused on making changes in schools as a result of participation in Leadership Matters.
Pawtucket School Leaders lowered student suspension rates at all levels and credited, ‘Leadership Matters RI’ as a key driver for this major success. At one Pawtucket school, the principal reported that there were 231 ‘behavior instances,’ meaning a student was disrespectful of the teacher or disruptive in class. Due to a ‘shift in the alternatives created’ there were only 15 instances reported in the first half of the following school year. In another school there were approximately 3,500 suspensions, and now it is down to 150 in that same school.
The 2020 election is only 14 months away and we are between last years’ midterms and next years’ presidential contest. When you have election fatigue, take a step back and think about the systems behind our electoral process. Public Sector Consortium President Georgie Bishop recently wrote a piece for Thrive on The Unholy Structures of Two-Year Election Cycles asking us:
Independence Day is an opportunity to acknowledge and honor the selfless people who have chosen public service as their profession. In today’s world Public Leaders have significant responsibilities in the areas of sustainability and addressing climate change issues for their communities.
For decades Rachel Carson and Al Gore haven been outspoken. courageous, Public Leaders who awakened all of us to the importance of protecting our environment and the need to build sustainable practices into our daily choices.
In any democracy citizens are not customers, they are partners with civil servants and elected public leaders and they are also the end-users.
An end user in this example is anyone or anything who depends on you for a service or product to get their work done, achieve their outcomes or thrive. For Public Servants this generally means citizens, colleagues, students, or other living systems which depend on our care and protection. When Dr. Edward Deming, the father of total quality management, met with senior leaders all over the world, he would always say “Do not tell me what is in your job description tell me who depends on you and how you are meeting their needs.”
Click this link to read the full article at Thrive Global to learn more about how great democracies and citizens depend on a professional and prepared civil service that are committed to public service and are trusted by the citizens.